I think this is quite clever.
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I took the first picture last saturday in Tsimshatsui. It was a locked-up newspaper stall, I guess. Obviously those were promotion material for a film, but they looked interesting. If you like you can try to identify the two mistakes among the handwritten words.
The second picture was taken at Hysan Place in Causeway Bay. I am not sure what it was. I guess it was a stage for some performance.
I asked the shop assistant to let me take a photo, explaining to her that people who don't speak Cantonese might not understand what the words mean at all.
So, do you know what the words mean?
I went to Singapore for a weekend break and spent most of my time in museums (instead of Little India, the waterfront and malls, etc), which was probably why I liked the country a bit better. I have some observations on the Chinese shown on some exhibits in the museums.
First, 肅清. Actually what struck me was the title "The Sook Ching". It is based on the Cantonese pronunciation I suppose. When I showed my friend this photo she was quite surprised that the title was not the "massacre".
Second, an old notice for Chinese hawkers. Note the different directions in which the words are printed on the same notice - vertically from right to left, horizintally from left to right, and horizontally from right to left. Traditional Chinese characters are used on this notice, and the name of the country on this notice is 新嘉坡. But this is a decades-old notice.
Third, the name of the dish Char Kway Teow. 炒粿條 is used in the photo. If I am not mistaken it is the same thing as what we call 炒貴刁 over here in HK. The Chinese terms are very different
Fourth, Chinese by a Vietnamese artist. It is all right. Although some characters used are odd / wrong (like the 垂 and 淂) but it is not difficult to get the general idea of the meaning.
I hope you find them interesting. Please share your views.
Many of his works are related to languages. Like his ABC series which is about representing English letters using Chinese characters. (Photos 1 to 2)
Then there is the square word calligraphy series, which is about writing each English word in a square. I think the idea is similar to the Korean script, but the Xu Bing version is not as tidy, mainly because English is not Korean, IMHO. And some square words look quite messy, as there are just too many components (long words). I don't think it is a very inventive series and the idea is not very different from the Chinese letters that tattooists use to con the uninformed. But it is fun, and is not difficult to learn and decipher. And, hey, it is Xu Bing. (Photos 3 to 6) You can see in Photo 3 "square word" and "Xu Bing". And in Photo 6 the first words (from left) are "four poems of W B Yeats, calligraphy by Xu Bing".
And then there is of course the 天書 series (Photo 7), which needs no introduction. I am not a big fan of his more recent 地書 series, though.
The exhibition will end on 20 April 2014.